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    Boosting the range of your home WiFi


    PaulOBrien

    Do you have your device connected to WiFi at home? If you are having trouble with the range, this little device could be the answer.

    The Huawei WS320 allows you to extend the range of your 802.11b, 802.11g or 802.11n wireless network cheapily, easily and most importantly - effectively.

    Where I live my wireless router is buried in the depths of the house due to the location of the phone master socket. What this means is that coverage drops off pretty quickly if I go upstairs, out in the garden or generally to any of the extremities of the house, which is a little bit annoying. Up to now i've tried generic repeaters (the ones that seem to be rebranded to all sorts of names with an ethernet connection on board) which have been prone to disconnects requiring a reboot and i've also run seperate routers, which is a good solution apart from the fact that Android is rubbish at managing connections of different strengths. :(

    The WS320 is pretty cool on a number of counts. At under £30 all in it's pretty cheap, it's deceptively small (I know the picture is to scale with the 3 pin plug but when it arrived it was more compact than I expected), it's easy to configure (literally 1 button press if using WPS with manual configuration available if required) and most importantly... it just works! I've had it plugged in for a while now upstairs in the house, underneath a cupboard and i've not once had to reboot it, re-pair it or, well, do anything. It has just extended the WiFi coverage in the weak spots exactly as i'd like. No additional configuration is required on my devices either.

    If you've used a WiFi repeater before you'll know that the downside is reduced speed compared to connecting to the main router and while i've been able to prove this with speed tests, in reality it's not noticeable in general use unless copying big files over the network. If this is a particularly common scenario for you, a seperate router on a seperate WiFi channel might be a better option.

    If you want to learn more about the WS320, you can head on over to the Huawei website, or head on over to MobileFun to buy. :)

    ws320big.png

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    This looks really good! Also, on behalf of the router modding communities out there who are looking at this, does it have DD-WRT?

    It's not a router.. why would it have DDWRT??

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    I ran one of these for about two years as part of a Talktalk Labs trial.

    It work floorlessly and invisibly until it just stopped earlier this year. It was switched on for all that time just switched of for holidays and the only configuration its needed was when I changed the SSID of the master Wifi network.

    A great piece of kit a definite buy.

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    I ran one of these for about two years as part of a Talktalk Labs trial.

    It work floorlessly and invisibly until it just stopped earlier this year. It was switched on for all that time just switched of for holidays and the only configuration its needed was when I changed the SSID of the master Wifi network.

    A great piece of kit a definite buy.

    2 years sounds quire short to me... :huh:

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    Another option is to use homeplugs - I needed a physical socket for my second Sky box, and the wifi was out of range anyway, so a pair of homeplugs gives me a lan socket at the far end of my house.. connected to a wireless access point, or in my case an old BT home hub, and voila... you can get a pair of 200mb homeplugs for under £20, and that's faster than any wifi connection.

    One tip - turn off dhcp on the second router/AP, give it a static IP in the range of the primary router, and give it the same wireless network name and passcode - your devices will then automatically connect to whichever wireless lan is in range.

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    If you look at reviews of HomePlugs, the actual throughput is well below the advertised speed (as it is with WiFi). I get 70Mbit actual throughput with my 150Mbit router and access point link across two floors.

    When I tried my old 85Mbit adapters I used in a previous house, I got 128Kbit (yes, 128k!). WiFi is the best option for me in the current house.

    An example review with real throughput figures for a HomePlug adapter pair:

    http://www.expertreviews.co.uk/powerline-networking/1286926/solwise-net-pl-500av-piggy

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    I have bought one of these Huawei extenders and am using BT HomeHub 4. I have had nothing but trouble but I believe I have got to the root of it.

    The Huawei assigns itself IP Address 192.168.1.254 for its admin console, which is the same as the HomeHub and may be the case for other routers. This will cause an IP address conflict of course. This has led to me having no internet when connected to the repeater - very annoying.

    The solution I used was to reset the repeater, connect the wireless network it broadcasts, select advanced options and change its fixed IP address to something else that doesn't conflict with other devices on my network.

    So far so good!

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